Continental announced Monday it continues to increase production at the pre-cured tread manufacturing plant it added to its Mount Vernon, Ill., campus last year. Continental says the plant is prepared for an expected 300 percent increase in production this year, thanks to its high-tech manufacturing process and retread sales growth. In March, the company hired a second shift of production employees to support the additional volume demands.
“Continental saw a double-digit percent increase in demand for our retreads in North America last year,” says Tom Fanning, vice president of sales and marketing for commercial vehicle tires. “We expect that growth to continue as the quality of ContiTread becomes better known in the market and as we continue to add new partners to our ContiLifeCycle retreader network.”
ContiTread pre-cured tread rubber is only available to ContiLifeCycle retread partners of Continental, and is recognized for its premium quality. Many tread patterns are identical to Continental’s new tires, giving customers a “looks like new, runs like new” advantage, the company says. The pre-cured tread plant is realizing efficiencies thanks to its sophisticated manufacturing equipment, as well as its location on Continental’s Mount Vernon campus, home to one of the largest rubber mixing operations in North America, the company says.
“We are achieving phenomenal outcomes by leveraging the team’s 40 years of experience in truck tire manufacturing to improve the tread profiles and rubber mixing process,” says John Barnes, head of ContiLifeCycle retreading for the Americas.
By investing in technologically advanced production machinery, Continental says it ensures the quality and consistency of its retread products and maximizes safety for plant personnel.
“Our changeover process to move from producing one retread pattern to producing a different one is completely driven by programming,” says Barnes. “Where other plants, from other manufacturers, may have to go through a manual process, we’re able to create an automatic one, driven by digital expertise. This shortens our changeover time significantly. It also requires a different skill set in the operators.”